Members Evening (11/01/2013)
Probably all AGS Groups have home-spun talent that helps out at meetings during the winter months. Our meeting this month was a 'member's meeting', not always guaranteed to bring members out in their droves (rather like AGM's), but those that didn't come missed a treat. Four of us gave widely different short talks, starting with reminiscences of mine of a highly enjoyable Plant Show that we went to several times in France (near to St. Malo). This was held with characteristic French bonhomie in the grounds of a very fine restaurant on the coast, so food and wine was as strong a component as plants. My special memory though was of a wonderful old gentleman alpine grower (a veteran of the Algerian war), to whom all of us nurserypeople grouped together to give Volumes of the Algerian Flora, and of his wonderfully traditional nursery where all plants were still grown in clay pots.
The second talk stayed in France too, but down in the south, looking at orchids, and the great variety found in this relatively warm and dry region, across to the Pyrenees. Parts of this region are particularly beautiful landscape wise, and why we haven't yet visited there is a mystery (it could be partly because of a total disability with the language!).
Third was a trip on the Overland Track through the Cradle Mountain- Lake St. Clair National Park in Tasmania, a place of special significance to me as I visited it over 30 years ago. Some wonderful and very different plants and stunning scenery - and in discussions afterward we questioned why our emphasis is so strongly on the plants and not on the mountain scenery, which in itself is so awe-inspiring.
Finally we had summer scenes from a members garden set to music and presented rather in the manner of Cliff Booker's presentation I described earlier on. This was lovely to see for several reasons; first just as a presentation of music and plants; but second because it is a garden we all know and enjoy; and thirdly I think for the enjoyment and recognition it must have brought to the members who had made the garden and shared it with us - a real 'in house' experience.
So 'member's evenings' can be quite stimulating affairs!